Green Web Hosts

With the present load shedding occuring in South Africa we are all acutely aware of the need to conserve energy.

Unfortunately not all of us have the deep deep pockets that a company like Google has when it establishes it’s data centers. For example, in March 2009, Google purchased the Summa Mill from Finnish paper company Stora Enso and converted the 60 year old paper mill into a data center with an initial investment of €200 million. The first phase of the project was completed in September 2011. More than 2,000 individuals working for 50 companies (mostly Finnish and from the local area) contributed to the project.

In August 2012, Google announced an additional €150 million investment in Phase II of the data center, which involved the restoration and conversion of an Alvar Aalto-designed machine hall.

The facility is one of the most advanced and efficient data centers in the Google fleet, making use of a high-tech cooling system, which uses sea water from the Bay of Finland, reduces energy use and is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

The Google Data Center in Hamina, Finland

In large data centers the typical server will waste up to a third of the energy it uses before any of that energy reaches the parts that do the actual computing. Servers lose the most energy at the power supply, which converts the AC voltage coming from a standard outlet to a set of low DC voltages. They then lose more at the voltage regulator, which further converts the power supply’s output to the voltages required by microchips. Designed with low efficiency standards in order to save on initial cost, traditional servers end up costing much more in electricity in the long run.

Theoretically, web hosting companies that utilise renewable energy and work to make their data centers efficient will save huge energy costs and also save from reusing or recycling.

Most green data centers will use a combination of wind or solar power and the evaporative power of water for cooling.

As a committed ‘greenie’ we went looking for web hosts that had a stated policy about being green (or a link to that policy) from their INDEX Page – if the policy was hidden somewhere else sorry for you.

The green web hosts ones that we highly recommend have a policy of NOT using Renewable Energy Credits and have actually got their hands ‘dirty’ (clean) by directly utilising wind or solar power.

The following web hosts have a stated green web hosting action plan:

Kalk Bay Enlightened Hosting: Asof the 1st of January 2008 the Kalk Bay server network began running on 100% sustainably produced electricity from renewable sources. Kalk Bay say; “We are commited to caring for our Mother planet and providing a service that does no harm to Mother nature. By hosting on renewable energy our sites do no harm to the environment and atmosphere. We are commited to ethical and sustainable practices in every aspect of our work. We encourage organic farming, recycling, renewable energy.” Asof 2011 Kalk Bay were certified carbon neutral.

AISO.net: AISO’s data center and office is powered by on-site solar panels within two arrays to generates electricity. This grid is owned and operated by AISO to power the data center and office. AISO boast that they are the first and only 100% completely solar powered, carbon free hosting company that does not use energy credits.

Ecological Hosting: As part of their mission statemnet Ecological Hosting state; “To enlighten the world to the reality of abundant energy supplies through the application of the most abundant (solar) and other renewable energy sources in the provision of services for the modern day phenomena that is the Internet.”

Solar Web Host: The datacentre utilised by Solar Web Host is in California, east of Los Angeles. The data center is powered by 120 solar panels which generate all the electricity. The Solar is owned and operated by the Datacentre to power California’s first and only solar-powered hosting company.

iWeb: iWeb’s Montreal data centers are 98% powered by hydroelectricity produced at just 4 grams of CO2 per Kwh, 56% less CO2 than wind energy and less than 1% than that of gas and coal. Free Cooling in the data centers uses ambient temperatures that are below freezing for around a quarter of the year.

Ilisys: Australian based Ilisys uses 100% Green Power to run their data centre. All power used is renewable energy sourced from the sun, wind, water and waste, all of which limits greenhouse gas emissions in its generation. Ilisys says; “Australia is the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases amongst developed nations. And it is increasingly likely that we will be held collectively accountable for our growing greenhouse debt. It makes sense for us to minimise our impact on the environment.”

Planet Mind: Since 1997, Planetmind Internetworks has specialized in the hosting, design, and development of customized, interactive Web sites tailored to the needs of the ecologically- minded online community. Servers are powered by 100% green, renewable solar power, provided by a grid-intertied solar array at their office building in Nederland, Colorado.

Beanstalk Solar Hosting: Beanstalk Solar Hosting is powered by a 3.7 kilowatt solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system installed by Adobe Solar of Colorado. This grid-tied solar PV system has been mounted on the roof just above the Beanstalk Solar Hosting servers and is made up of (20) 185 Watt Mitsubishi Solar Panels and (1) Frontius Solar Inverter. Taking advantage of Colorado’s 300+ days of sunshine, this solar PV system is expected to produce an average of 410 Kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month. Over the next 30 years, this system will use the free energy from the sun to offset more than 189,000 lbs of CO2, equivalent to driving 220,000 miles, according to Greg Koss owner of Adobe Solar. In addition to providing clean renewable solar electricity, the system is expected to provide savings of over $48,000 in electrical costs at today’s rates.

iPage: iPage has reduced its carbon footprint by purchasing enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), to offset our energy use by 200%

Green Geeks: GreenGeeks claim that they are the industry’s leading green energy web hosting provider putting back 3 times into the grid through wind energy that they consume. Based in Los Angeles, California Green Geeks services customers from over 150 countries.

Is your web hosting company green? Add your comments below.

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